Moore’s Friday Angles: How I’m Betting Bucks vs. Magic, Rockets vs. Nets

Moore’s Friday Angles: How I’m Betting Bucks vs. Magic, Rockets vs. Nets article feature image

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rockets guards Russell Westbrook (0) and James Harden (13).

Here are two betting angles to consider on Friday night’s games based on matchups and trends.

Odds as of Friday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

The Angle: God Help Me, I’m Buying The Magic Offense

Have I mentioned this is a tough slate? Because it’s a tough slate, numbers-wise.

The Magic are dead last in effective field goal percentage, which is not a great stat to start with. They haven’t had an eFG% over 50% yet this season, and that includes vs. Atlanta at home.

This is so bad I almost have to believe they’re going to regress to the mean. They’re top five in expected eFG% vs. actual via

Now, let’s counter that with the Bucks, whose defense I’ve been fading this season. The Bucks are giving up 107.3 points per 100 possessions, which is worse than three of the four teams Orlando has played.

The Bucks are also playing at the fifth-fastest pace league-wide this season, significantly faster than any team the Magic have played.

What’s more, the Bucks have put up 117 or more in three of their four games with the only exception being a random offensive collapse vs. the Celtics this week. They’re winning track meets.

Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34).

Even still, I wouldn’t want Orlando at a high number. I took their over vs. the Knicks under the same premise and missed it by 14. But the Knicks play much slower than Milwaukee. And the number on the Magic team total is 105.5.

You avoid another random offensive funk from the Bucks on the combined total, you don’t have to trust the Magic to hang with the Bucks +4.5, and you don’t get burned by the under when Milwaukee puts up a big number as one of the league’s best offenses.

Orlando has to just score at a standard yet still low rate to hit the over, if the game is played at Milwaukee’s pace (106 possessions per game for a needed 98.2 offensive rating for the Magic).

Like I did with the Bulls earlier this week, I will trust that regression has to come visit and continue to fade the Bucks defense until it puts on a clinic.

The Play: Magic over 105.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

The Angle: We Need to Talk About the Rockets

So the Rockets are 3-1, and had a big lead on Milwaukee in their season-opening loss. So it looks like everything’s going well.

But let’s really look at this team’s resume so far, based on point differential:

  • vs. Bucks: -6 (+1.5, 0-1 against the spread)
  • vs. Pelicans: +3 (-12, 0-2 ATS)
  • vs. Thunder: +4 (-10, 0-3 ATS)
  • at Wizards: +1 (-8, 0-4 ATS)

It’s not just that they’re 0-4 ATS, but that in all these wins, they could have lost the game. The Thunder were in it to the very end, the Wizards nearly pulled off a massive upset and the Pelicans were in it late as well.

Also, note that none of these three wins were vs. teams with season win totals over .500. The Nets are 0-4 ATS as favorites this season as well, but are home dogs on Friday night.

They have the fourth-best expected eFG% on shots, and a bottom-10 actual opponent eFG%. The Nets also rank top-10 in opponent second-chance points and fast-break points per 100 possessions (as in, top-10 best at defending). They are 14th in points in the paint allowed per 100 possessions and are top 10 in defensive rebound rate.

All of these data points trend toward the idea that the Nets, while a bad defensive team, are probably not as bad as the numbers they’ve put up.

These are two top-10 offenses vs. two bottom-10 defenses. As a bit of insight, in games where the offensive and defensive ratings of both teams are higher than 107 have hit the under 54% of the time.

Meanwhile, 74% of the tickets are on Houston, but only 66% of the money. Early bettors jumped on the Nets before the Rockets gained steam later in the day. 

Brooklyn, at home, vs. a Rockets defense that’s been worrisome, there’s too much value here to pass up.

The Play: Nets +4.5 | under 243.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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